The last time Derrick Rose came back to play basketball at the United Center after taking a considerable amount of time off, it was the start of a tepid, tentative handful of games — a tenure that ended with another torn ACL, and another season of speculation. When Team USA played their first friendly warm up match for the FIBA World Cup against Brazil on Saturday, the tension in the Chicago arena was palpable even through a TV broadcast. The fans wanted Derrick Rose, not the ‘derrick rose’ who managed just 10 NBA appearances in 2013. Save for one missed dunk, they got Derrick Rose — capital letters and all.
Before the game, Rose had mentioned that he didn’t mind coming off the bench, and said the Brazil game would be the start of a new journey, and that Team USA had to take it as seriously as possible, even if it was just an exhibition game. While a missed dunk partially deflated the crowd, a coast-to-coast floater with just four seconds on the clock cemented Rose’s return for the Chicago faithful, who could bask in the return of their MVP as well as the heroics of hometown star Anthony Davis, who finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, and one dive into the stands that was positively Shaq-esque.
“I have no fears — I have faith,” Rose told reporters after the game. He also had nothing but kind words for Anthony Davis, saying that the power forward was exactly what the team needed, while acknowledging that he could feel the expectation on him from the crowd. The Bulls play their first game of the 2014 NBA season on Wednesday, October 29, against the New York Knicks.